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On this trip, we were hiking around 160 km from Germany to Italy. The difficult part was however not the distance but walking up and down a mountain on a daily base.
The E5 initially starts from Konstanz (Germany) and ends in Verona (Italy). However, most hikers start the tour from Oberstdorf – since this is the part where you are actually in the Alps – and finish the tour in Meran.
The route contains about 20.000 meters in altitude and does not require any special skills or alpine gear. However, you should be in good shape to be able to walk 1000 meters in altitude a day. The route has a length of about 170 km.
The trip across the Alps took us six days, and we were walking about 10 hours a day. Concerning the costs, you can calculate about 20 EUR per night to stay in a hut excluding food (which would be another 15-20 EUR for breakfast and dinner at the hut).
From Oberstdorf, you reach Austria via the Unteren Madeljoch and continue via the Allgäuer, Lechtaler and Ötztaler Alps until you reach Italy via the Timmelsjoch. From there your way continues in South Tyrol until you reach Bozen. The highlight of the tour is, e.g., the Geigenkamm and the Pitztal (where you come to an altitude of 3000 m).
We started our ascent in Oberstdorf along a Glacier. Fortunately, it didn’t rain. Otherwise, it would have been quite slippery walking up in the mud and scree.
Oberstdorf – Kemptner Hut (1.844 m)
At some point, we reached the border of Germany and Austria. It seems that someone has shot on the boundary post.
We had a fantastic view of the moon on the sky watching our steps up to the Memminger Hut where we enjoyed our dinner together with other hikers.
On the next day, after an excellent breakfast, we had to walk again over scree on our way from the Memminger Hut to Zams which was our deepest descent on tour – 1825 m.
We were awarded again with stunning scenery, clear mountain lakes, and ice on our trail to Zams.
From Zams we walked most of the day in a valley. The first part was not very demanding, and you could also take a bus instead of walking 30 km through the Pitztal. However, our goal was not to use any transportation until we reach our destination.
Cows crossed our way. At the beginning, it seemed a bit scary to pass them, but they made a friendly impression.
The Braunschweiger Hut – located at an altitude of 2.759 m. The landscape reminded me on astronauts walking on the moon.
We went straight into the hut and energized ourselves with Austrian pastries and some cold drinks.
As we continued our trip, we came across the Wildspitze, which is with its 3.768m the highest mountain of North Tyrol 3.768 m
Again scree and lakes. Also breathing was a little bit more demanding on this altitude.
On the way to Zwieselstein, we reached the highest point of the tour – the Pitztaler Jöchel with 2995 m. We had to walk over a Glacier.
My Suunto Core (consider to get the Suunto Traverse instead) helped a bit to estimate the altitude and the time still needed to reach our destination.
Again we came across cows – in all variations.
And then we reached the Timmelsjoch (2.509 m), which is located between Zwieselstein and Moos and the border between Austria and Italy. We had terrible weather. It was cold and rainy.
Moos – Pfändler Alm
From the Pfändler Alm to the Meraner Hut we had the longest ascent on our tour – from 1.345 m
to 2.781 m.
And again we were rewarded with an excellent panoramic view from the peak of the Kreuzjoch.
View towards the Dolomites in South Tyrol.
On our last day, we hiked from the Meraner Hut to Bozen and then took the bus back to Oberstdorf. I can warmly recommend this trip. You may also meet like-minded hikers during the journey or on the huts as well and enjoy the great Austrian and Italian kitchen.
- Braunschweiger Hut
- Kemptner Hut
- Meraner Hut
- Deutscher Alpenverein (as a member of the DAV you get discounts on the huts (website only in German)
Interested to read about another mountain adventure in Sweden? Here is our story about our packrafting trip in the Swedish mountains.